Speaking about science: a student-led training program improves graduate students’ skills in public communication

Melissa Clarkson, Juliana Houghton, William Chen, Jessica Rohde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


We present an assessment of the Engage program, a graduate-student-created and led training program at the University of Washington. Using a pre-course/post-course study design, we examined student ability to deliver a short presentation appropriate for a public audience. Based on both self-assessments and assessments by external reviewers, we show that Engage trainees had an increase in their ability to employ effective communication techniques.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Science Communication
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Sharon Greenblum, MichelleWeirathmueller, and Natalie Jones for their help in planning this study. We also acknowledge the efforts of the 2015 Engage cohort, Engage alumni, and external reviewers in making this study possible. We thank Catharine Beyer of the University of Washington Office of Educational Assessment for her help with designing the assessments. We thank Julia Parrish and the College of the Environment at the University of Washington for support of the Engage program. Engage would not be possible without the dedicated efforts of the founders (Rachel Mitchell, Eric Hilton, Phil Rosenfield, and Cliff Johnson). We especially thank the instructors for the first two cohorts of students (R. Mitchell, E. Hilton, and Tyler Robinson). We are also grateful to the nearly 80 individuals who made financial contributions to our crowdfunding campaign, as well as the staff of the Experiment.com crowdfunding platform. We thank Lauren Kuehne, Jennifer Davison, and Suguru Ishizaki for critical feedback on the manuscript draft.

Publisher Copyright:
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  • Professionalism
  • professional development and training in science communication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication


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